Game hunters lied about how they shot Xanda, son of Cecil the lion

Zimbabwe’s big-game hunters lied about the circumstances under which they shot and killed Cecil the lion’s son, Xanda, so say the wildlife researchers from Oxford University one of whom had previously said that the person who organised the hunting safari was a ‘good guy’.

A “good” guy, Richard Cooke, organized the trophy hunters who killed Xanda the eldest son of Cecil

Xanda had been fitted with a radio collar by the researchers from the University. Xanda was a lone male who had been ousted from his pride said the hunters. They also said that he had no dependent cubs and that he had moved out of the park (Hwange NP) where hunting is banned. They said that the lion had moved into an adjacent frest reserve where hunters are allowed to shoot one male lion a year.

It has transpired that none of what the hunters have said above is true. They lied. Oxford University’s Wildlife Research Conservation Unit has accused the Zimbabwe Professional Hunters and Guides Association of misrepresenting the information that their researchers had given them.

The fact of the matter is that Xanda was part of a pride with 7 cubs. His territory spanned the park boundaries.

“These cubs were too young to survive on their own and will certainly be vulnerable to infanticide”-said Andrew Loveridge one of the researchers.

Male lions normally kill their rival’s offspring when they take control of a pride and therefore Xanda’s cubs are vulnerable to being killed.

Apparently, Mr Loveridge said that his staff had warned the professional hunter and organiser, Richard Cooke, that shooting Xanda would be detrimental to the population of lions.

As mentioned, Mr Loveridge had formally praised Richard Cooke as being one of the good guys and an ethical hunter but apparently he isn’t. Mr Loveridge has made a U-turn as he has criticised Mr Cooke’s ethics and for misrepresenting the background to the killing of Xanda in order to cover up the immoral actions of the hunters.

Mr Loveridge has stated:

“There is no question that Mr Cook was fully aware that this animal was a pride male. He was a territorial male in a pride of three females with at least seven dependant cubs of between one and 1 1/2 years old.”

The killing of Xanda follows the furore over Cecil’s death at the hands of a Minnesota dentist, Dr Walter Palmer. It is said that the hunters had checked with the Oxford research unit and wildlife wardens before they shot Xanda in July. However, Mr Loveridge disputes what the hunters said.

As an outsider, looking in, it seems clear to me that the hunters are in the wrong because to trophy hunt the son of Cecil following the international criticism of the shooting of Cecil can only be judged as an immoral act and it could not have been condoned by anybody in authority unless there was some corruption and deceit involved.

Source: Times Newspaper July 25th 2017

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